Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Where's the Beef?

It's that time of year again.  Time when your hamburger is almost gone, and you have eaten your last steak. The freezer is almost bare, well, except for the mink!

We sell quite a bit of freezer beef, and throughout the process I have fielded many interesting questions.  I thought I would revisit this process just in case you are interested in buying your meat from a local farmer. This post from last year goes over our set up here in Wallpe World

Many people ask if our cows are grass fed.
Answer: Well, technically NO.  We feed our cows grass hay and alfalfa, and they do get to graze on the pasture, BUT their main source of nutrition is grain, primarily corn and corn silage.

Why do we feed grain to our feeder cattle?
Answer:  My best answer is that the taste improves 110% in this girl's book.  Others will agree.  Your beef has to have a bit of fat in it to bring out its natural flavors.  Our cows are not fat, but thanks to the grain they eat, they have good marbling in their steaks.  Imagining a grill full of  ribeye steaks is enough to make your mouth water.

Why buy a quarter, half, or even whole cow to put in your freezer? Say a little prayer, because the English teacher is about to tell you a math story. *Prices of beef fluxuate with the markets and change daily, so be aware that these are loose figures.  Same goes with the size of the cow.

Answer:  Let's say a cow weighs 1200 lbs.  At $1.42 a pound, you can buy the whole cow for $1704.00, or you can buy half of it for $852.00, or you can buy a quarter of it for $426.00.  Now the cow is taken to the processor.  Let's work with the quarter of beef.  About 63% of a quarter of processed beef comes to 268 pounds of nicely packaged meat ready to go into your freezer.  Our processor charges around $.50 a pound to cut and package your meat.  So....add $134.00 to your $426.00,  and divide that by the 400 lbs. of meat you started with.  That all comes to $2.09 a pound for your beef, hamburger to filet and NY Strip.

Another question that pops up more often than you think is, "What quarter of the beef will I get?"

Answer:  Think of it as sharing jelly beans with four kids, and go with the "One for you, and one for you, and one for you, and one for you!"  The meat is divided by cuts, so if there are 12 round steaks cut, and there are 4 quarters, everyone gets 3 round steaks.  Same with the roasts and hamburger.  Now you all are gonna have to arm wrestle for the organ parts, like heart and tongue.  The liver is divided equally (but you can have my share of that stuff if I'm sharing my quarter with you).

The next question is a logical one: "How much room does a quarter of beef take in my freezer?"
Answer:   About two shelves in an upright.

This is our meat freezer, all nicely defrosted and holding the 1/4 of beef we had processed.
See?

Steaks

Roasts and short ribs

Hamburger

Now usually we would have a little less roasts and a little more hamburger, but we are still working on a surplus of hamburger.  Since we do, the chuck roasts, Swiss roasts, and round steaks stay as they are instead of being ground up for more hamburger.



What are those two little packages on top?

Liver.    I don't eat that, much to Tall Guy's dismay.  He has to give those packages to his mom and eat it at her house.  I know......, but I still don't like it!

If you can afford the upfront costs, buying a quarter, half, or whole cow is very economical.  You also have a better chance of knowing where your cow was raised and how it was raised.  In addition, having some control of the thickness of your steaks and packaging of your hamburger has advantage to it. The best part of having beef in your freezer?  It's there for you to use when you want it!

I'm sure there are beef farmers close to many of you.  If this method of buy meat fits into your budget, you too can have a beef section in your very own freezer!  Most if not all the people who buy from us say they will not go back to the store for meat again.  Do business with a local farmer, and learn that the answer to the question, "Where's the Beef?" should be "In my freezer!"



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